How To Stress Less & Exercise More—6 Studies That Prove Sleep Is Key

Amongst other things!

How To Stress Less
Image: iStock

Your New Year’s resolutions are well underway—everyone’s committing to eating healthier, losing those Christmas kilos and staying on track for the year. For anyone with any goals in the health and wellness space in how to stress less, you can make things a little easier for yourself by getting quality sleep! Here’s how a good snooze can lend itself to you losing weight, eating healthier, staying motivated and stressing less—proven by studies!

Weight loss

The Department of Medicine, University of Chicago discovered individuals lost 55% more body fat simply by sleeping 8.5 hours rather than 5.5. Tracking every morsel that entered their mouths and all physical activity, the single variable was sleep length. And before you think it was the difference between the people themselves in short vs long sleep groups – it wasn’t. The same individuals were tested in both conditions!


Scientists uncovered hunger hormone grehlin increases by a 28% for those lacking sleep, and further, they also experience a 18% decrease in satiety hormone leptin. Consequentially, this converts to a hungrier, less satisfied you.

healthy eating
Image: Taylor Kiser via Unsplash

Healthy eating

Researchers at UC Berkley found that when you are sleep deprived, the brain area controlling desire (say, for example, for those hot chips or that chocolate bar) has greater control over your decisions than it usually would. With heightened primal urges, we are also more likely to cave to our cravings due to a bunting of the cortical region dictating rationale and decision making. The researchers concluded: “high calorie foods become significantly more desirable when sleep deprived”.

Staying motivated

Staying motivated at work and home is challenging enough already, so don’t make it harder than it needs to be! This study pinpoints lack of sleep impairs the brains frontal lobe, responsible for attention, judgement and concentration. This helps explain the 2016 Sleep Health Foundation Australian Sleep Survey finding that 29% of workplace errors are a direct result of fatigue.

side plank
Image: iStock

Stressing less

Sufficient sleep, biologically, is your ticket: there is a 37% rise in stress hormone cortisol only after one night of inadequate sleep, meaning the next day you’re likely to feel anxious, wired, jittery and unable to switch off. Further, for anyone seeking to be more calm, cool and collected when confronted with unexpected problems, researchers also discovered that a lack of sleep exacerbates your reactivity to stress (AKA you’re more likely to ‘blow up’ at someone for something minor if you haven’t had those quality zzz’s).
Click here for more scary ways sleep deprivation can impact your health and here for the things that are most likely ruining your sleep (and what to do about it!).
Olivia’s FREE 21 Days of Sleep Tips Series, highlights a sample of the physiological, psychological and nutritional changes you can make to improve your sleep tonight, and energy levels tomorrow. Alternatively, get in touch with Olivia at [email protected] to find out more about her program, The Sleep Solution, and how it can transform your sleep, and restore you to your best self—inside and out.

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